Celebrity dog trainers blame Major Biden's biting on workplace tension

Originally published at: Celebrity dog trainers blame Major Biden's biting on workplace tension | Boing Boing


It’s also his handlers. One photo I saw was him short-leashed like a police dog, possibly being handled by a secret service agent.

Short-leashing communicates to an animal that there is danger. Secret Service personnel around the president are hypervigilant, looking for danger, which the dog will also pick up on. Their job is to protect the president. In Major’s view, his role is to protect his person, who is incidentally the president. In his mind, someone doing the same job as he is says these people are dangerous to his person. He is going to defend.

And as a rescue, former training may not be known. The handler was handling him like a police dog. Given his breed, he could have had similar training (even partway) and be more hyped to defend against anyone he percieves as aggressive towards his person.

That these tendencies are only coming forward now speaks heavily about the environment and the people, moreso than the dog.


Yep. I volunteered for several years at a no-kill shelter (before these were common). While on vacation, the shelter’s board of directors approved an adoption of one of our sweet mastiff-like doggos to the DEA. The feds took the dog to VA and trained him to go after the feet. After washing out of the DEA program (failed his last agility test), the feds returned Bubba to our shelter. We had to fundraise in order to send him to an outside trainer for another six weeks to retrain him. :roll_eyes:


It’s a place full of tension.

I’d need a dog too if I worked there.


It could be a good negotiating tool. How hard is Mitch McConnell really gonna push back during a White House meeting if Biden is sitting next to an Apex Predator that might rip out McConnell’s throat at any moment?


Maybe someone other than the President’s secret service detail should be taking care of the dogs, then.

How about no?


I could imagine if you go from a typical home setting, to the hustle and bustle of the White House that it would take some getting used to.

Did Biden have his dogs there when he was VP?


I suppose it is possible they invite Senators Warren or Sanders.


I believe Major is new to the Bidens. He was adopted in 2020, I think.


Biden wouldn’t put Major at risk, but shouldn’t be above telling McConnell his pet is an excellent judge of character before inviting him to meet the pup. I’d expect McConnell to decline.


Yeah but try as I might I can’t imagine Bernie Sanders ripping out Mitch McConnell’s throat.


I imagine a lot of people with access to the White House are filled with anger and hostility. Not saying any of the victims here fall into that category, but the environment presented might cause a dog to react unpredictably. Probably should have a dedicated, qualified dog handler given the circumstances .


Under those mittens he has wolverine claws.




Bernie Sanders Zoom GIF by moodman



No dog privileges when your VP. Sorry dogs…


I assumed that @Mister44 was asking if the dogs had experience being in DC among strangers (not necessarily at the WH) and around the Secret Service while he was VP.

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When it comes to dogs, we all get emotional, I’m no different.


Having had a lot of professional behavior training (classes and behavior service rotations while in vet school, lots and lots of CE afterwards) with actual veterinary behaviorists, all I’m going to say is “please do not ever listen to “celebrity” dog trainers”. I’ve heard so much crap that is flat out wrong, and much of which can actually make the situation much much worse (see Cesar Milan’s dominance theories).

Not to mention the abuse/mistreatment that we in the profession have witnessed from these assholes (looking at you Milan, and the lawsuit you faced for the dog you leashed to a treadmill, then left attended, then brought to my wife’s emergency hospital after it couldn’t keep up, and machine choked for an undisclosed amount of time).

A good comparison would be that these people are the animal behavior versions of what “Dr. Phil” is to human psychology/family counseling…

In this case, Milan is probably right that the biting may be anxiety/fear aggression related, but even a broken clock…


I have worked with “problem” horses more than with “problem” dogs, and it turns out the “problem” is almost always people.

Most people have very little idea how good communal animals like horses and dogs ate at reading non-verbal signals. We have developed into a largely verbal species with a poor sense of smell, but that doesn’t mean they have.¹

One thing: that “dominance” garbage doesn’t work too well with an animal that averages around 1100 pounds and comes equipped with hammers on the ends of its limbs. Uninformed people think it does, because they see one or two incidences of a “herd leader” in a fight or bossing another member around, but herd politics are more complicated than that, and even if they weren’t it’s a fight a fragile human cannot win. I have seen a murderously angry horse. I have seen what happens when it catches the target of its rage. 1100 pounds and hammers.

¹ ETA stress has a smell. A dog or horse can catch a whiff of that, and they too will become stressed, because you have told them there’s a reason to be stressed. Just because you didn’t realize you told them, doesn’t mean you didn’t tell them.